Saturday, August 6, 2011

One month and it's not getting easier...

We love you, Andrew.  We miss you so much.  You were only with us a short while, but you mean the world to us...always.

One month ago today I was induced and gave birth to my special little boy.  It was so strange and difficult to sit in the hospital room feeling "normal," waiting for my body to kick into labor mode since even though my son was dead, my body wasn't accepting the pregnancy continued.  After being there almost 12 hours, the pills finally worked and my Andrew was born.  There was no cry.  No hustle and bustle of nurses tending to him, weighing him, and cleaning him up.  Just Doug and I.  We waited for the nurse to come in before I moved because we didn't know what to do and were both scared to look.  He was too small to hold without the help of a little knitted pocket that was lovingly made by a nurse at the hospital for other unfortunate people in my situation.  The nurse, Cheryl, that took care of Doug and I helped put him in it because we were too scared to touch hurt him.  He was so little and so hard to look at at first, but at the same time, I couldn't take my eyes off of him.  He looked so much like his big brother, Trevor.  There is one picture where the resemblance is obvious, and I have it on my desk next to his urn, which is empty, as we are still waiting on all the legalities to have his ashes home.  It's amazing how hard and long we have to fight just to prove he is "ours."

He was already going to be a big boy, 7 inches at 14 weeks, with big feet.  He was going to fit right in.  He looked so perfect, just small and lifeless.  I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by imagining what he would have become in just a few more months. What I wouldn't give for him to be able to thrive with his brothers and sister.  To laugh about their big feet and crazy toes, as I'm sure he would have had the "monkey pincer" toes, too.  What I wouldn't give to watch him grow up and compare him to his siblings and to how much he looked like his brother, how much he acted like his sister, or how he had selective hearing, like his father AND his siblings.  I know Trevor would have loved to hear how much Andrew looked like him or did certain things like him.  What I wouldn't give to have Andrew smile at me and love ME the way that Trevor does, with that look that let's me know he thinks that I'M the bee's knees.  Have him laugh at how crazy and goofy his sister is and the lengths she will go to to get that very laugh.  To see him start crawling, sitting up, walking, taking his first bite, his butterfly kisses.  The hurt is still so strong.  I still have no answers as to why and I'm still not any closer to accepting it.  My grief and my pain is so intense, the stress from it all is still weighing heavily on my mind and my body.  I can't think anymore.  I feel run down.  When does it get better?

We did go to the lake today - Hayley, Trevor, Doug, and I - and sent some balloons off.  We had each written our letters to Andrew, Lily, and our other nameless angels, and tied them to the balloons.  It was amazing how quickly they took off and disappeared into the Heavens and up to our angels.  I know it helped Hayley feel better and she asked if the balloons would really make it all the way to Heaven.  I assured her that even if the balloons couldn't go that high, the angels would fly down and grab them and take them back to the clouds for our babies.  She accepted that.  I hope it's true.

Now, if I can just get some answers.  My appointment is in 2 weeks to go back to my RE doctor, whom I love to pieces, so maybe she can help answer some of my questions.  At the same time, I dread going because that is where I watched my babies grow, weekly, from 5 weeks on up to 11 weeks, on the ultrasound.  It was hard after losing, Lily.  Now, it is going to be even harder since I had graduated from her office to my regular OB/GYN.  I wasn't supposed to go back to her until the baby was show him off.  Instead, I'll be going back to view an empty womb.  It makes me cry just typing it.  It's so sad to see that empty void knowing your baby should be thriving in there.  I am glad that at least at her office, most women are trying to get pregnant, although I wish fertility issues / struggles on no one.  I won't have to sit in a room full of pregnant women and new mothers, like I did a few days after my loss when I had to go back to my doctor...where everyone was expecting, but me.

I was reading the blog of a friend and fellow angel mommy and wanted to share an excerpt from her blog that really hits home and explains it (thank you, Nikki) - "I never thought I’d join the “baby loss mom” club.  I sure never thought I’d join the “recurrent baby loss mom” club.  What a cruel joke.  I have had three people in the past week tell me they are expecting.  I try to bite my tongue.  I was expecting too.  So many of us were.  You don’t always get what you expect.  Sometimes, instead of a baby, you get a pile of ashes.  Instead of a birth certificate, a death certificate.  And instead of joy and happiness, heart break and devastation."  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So tired...

It's been a few days since I last posted.  I have been busy.  Tired.  Confused.  Stressed.

I started back to work after a month off (actually longer because I had been having computer issues, so it's been a LONG break).  I've been dealing with the insurance for all the doctor and hospital bills, as well as dealing with the car insurance for the wreck I was in.  Andrew was cremated Monday, but there was another paper that wasn't signed, so Doug had to go to the funeral home to sign it, and we are still waiting to get Andrew home. On top of that, Hayley had drill camp this week from 8:45 to 12, so after my first shift was over, I was off to drop her at the camp, go home and work my second shift, and then quitting early so I could go back for her.  By noon, I already had a busy 7-hour day!  Usually, I would love it, but I am so exhausted.  I just can't kick the exhaustion, the fatigue, the no energy, and I cannot think for anything.  I know there are obvious reasons why, but with my fibromyalgia, everything is just intensified.  No sleep is enough to feel rested.  I literally need a jackhammer to work through my spasms.  Aside from the pain, which I can handle because I'm used to it, the fatigue and fibro "brain fog" is ridiculous.  I knew that a symptom of my fibromyalgia is sensitivity to stress, but boy am I a case example right now.  I should submit myself as a guinea pig...   Seriously.

I am trying to juggle all these things I need to be dealing with, but it's hard to keep my head straight.  Of course, if I weren't having to fight against the outrageous bills, and having to fight because the lady who flat out HIT my car is denying it and lying (even though the insurance totally believes me... but without her admission, I will have to pay my $500 deductible since there were no witnesses and we live in a "no-fault" state.  It will not go against me since it is ruled as not being my fault, BUT I still have to pay money that I should never be having to pay in the first place!).  I already have proof that she hit me, just in the marks on my car and the fact that her story doesn't even make sense, which the insurance lady blatantly told me.  I just need someone to let me point out to them all the inconsistencies and the marks, and I can easily prove, without a doubt, without witnesses, what happened....and I WILL.  Let me play the part of the lawyer for just a moment, because I'm really good at proving my point when I'm being called a liar or getting screwed.  I will find whomever I need to to listen to me and will make sure this B#*$@ pays for my car.  The fact that there are TIRE marks, ALONE, proves that I was going straight and her tire was turned towards ME...because she was coming into MY lane as I was going straight!  There wasn't any body contact from her car, so how does the tire hit me and not her car....ESPECIALLY if I am driving into her?  Just the tire and side mirror?  Nope...doesn't work. I was ticked that she hit my new car, but I'm even MORE ticked now that she is flat out lying about it and blaming ME!!!  Liars are one of my biggest peeves, and in this case, it is a very close second to how mad I am about the damage to my car.  I would love to go MMA on her a$$ right now and relieve my stress all over her sorry self.  That would be such good medicine to me right now.  Give her back all the crap and stress she has added to my life, the weight she has thrown on MY shoulders, when I didn't have an option either way.  I was just driving down the road trying to spend the day with my kids...

THEN there's the hospital. The hospital denied my first dispute, saying that a baby is either stillborn or a live birth, and that is how they charge.  There are set fees, and it is either one or the other...but it's not.  It took forever and letting me "speak to whomever is on the next level" to finally explain to them that my situation is rare and to get them to UNDERSTAND, though I'm still not positive they understand what exactly DIDN'T happen.  Typically, I had a miscarriage and you are not induced for it.  You either have it at home or go through surgery.  They could not understand that there was no doctor, no physician's assistant, no nothing.  I was basically in a room for observation and assistance in case there was a snag.  My baby had died, but my body was not aware of it, so my body was made to go into labor...I was induced.  That, and the fact I was so far along that a D&C was riskier. We had a nurse who checked in every few hours and who came in after Andrew was born to help get him situated.  That was it.  No $4,000+ delivery, no pushing that was coached by a doctor, no anesthesiologist to help keep me comfortable, no physician's assistant, no monitoring me, because I didn't take any pain medication, no team of people to look after the baby, no aftercare for me...nothing but Doug and I.  I hope they got it this time, because if not, I will dispute it again.  I will NOT pay for a more complicated delivery, when mine was nowhere near any of it.  I don't care if they don't usually break down the charges...they will this time because that is just ridiculous.  Would you pay the same price for having a shed built if they were supposed to build you a house?  Of course not.  I'm not saying Andrew wasn't worth the money, he was worth everything, but I'm not paying Big Business for care that didn't happen.

On top of it, I lost my baby.  My little Andrew.  Trevor's spitting image.  My heart is still broken.  I still have to look at babies and see pregnant women everywhere I go, and no one knows the heartache inside.  No one knows that even though I look normal, my brain is split into two, one seemingly normal-functioning half to keep me looking normal and going about business as usual, and the other half that is torn into a million pieces, constantly thinking about my baby and everything that goes with it...the part we learn to bury deep inside. No stranger will look at me and know the horror and pain I have lived in the last month (the last years really) and it is really hard to act like it didn't, but that's what we angel mommies do.  We have to pick up and be shoved out into the world where there is no real understanding.  We have to go to our doctor's appointments and sit in the waiting room with other pregnant women, or women with newborns, while we are trying to recover from the loss of ours.  We get to pick up the pregnancy and parenting magazines to read to try and divert our attention.  We have to go to the store and pass the baby items and baby clothes, knowing that we should be shopping this department, but now we just have to wonder if we ever will again.  We have to pass the dates weekly that coincide with how far along we should be, how big the baby should be, or how much longer until we could meet and hold them, and instead of the joy of getting that much closer and celebrating milestones, we are counting the weeks since our loss, the weeks since we held them, the weeks since we found out our pregnancy was over and there was nothing we could do to change it.  Now we have to dread the upcoming empty due dates, the anniversary of our losses, and all the other dates that should be of no significance, but now are overwhelmingly significant.  It's so frustrating and overwhelming.  Life could and should be so different right now.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A month...already....

Four weeks ago today, my little one was seemingly safe and sound, growing in my belly, as he should be.  I was listening to his heart beat on the doppler, excited to have passed the 14-week mark.  I made it.  Of course, the reality was that I would wake up and find out my little boy had died for some unknown reason during the night.  The Fourth of July will forever hold a new meaning for me.  I still can't believe it happened.  I still can't believe I really was pregnant.  Those months just seem to have erased from my memory, even though I was stuck in bed most of it, miserable...but holding on to the fact that my misery would bring me a baby in the end.  It would all be worth it...or should have been, anyway.

I think I am ready for the cremation tomorrow.  It is hard to think of my son on a morgue shelf, forgotten about.  It's hard to have fun and go about my day, knowing that he is still in the same spot, in the morgue, alone.  I want to have him home where he belongs....where he is loved and missed...where he is REAL.  It's funny how much people will stand up for their beliefs against abortion and how it is murder.  How every baby, no matter how small, is a HUMAN BEING; yet, when those of us who wanted our babies, and did everything possible to keep them...when WE lose our babies, we have to fight to prove they WERE real.  Our rights are next to nothing.  Up until 20 weeks, they are not considered ours.  They are not a stillbirth, they are a miscarriage - fetal demise.  Even though I went through hours of induction and pain to deliver him, he was a clump of tissue to the doctor... and on paper, not much different than a tumor.  Even though he was a perfect little person, 7 inches long, with feet and toes, hands and fingers, fingernails, eyes, nose, mouth, heart, lungs, ribs, etc.  He was nothing but tissue?  We saw him kicking and wriggling on several ultrasounds leading up to this...but he was nothing?  Things really need to change.  Where are the people standing up for the rights of these babies?  Oh yeah, that would be us Angel Mommies...but then, we are just crazy and not thinking straight because of our loss and who listens?

Mothers of lost babies grieve beyond anyone's understanding...unless they, too, have been in these shoes.  Even an early loss is extremely painful, physically and mentally.  These are our babies.  Some of us have tried for months, or even years, to have this dream come true.  You never know just how long that story actually is.  That first positive line is like winning the lottery.  We live every moment and think of everything we do and put in our mouths, for the safety and nourishment of our children.  We dream of how the future has now changed.  There will be a new addition.  A new baby.  We begin counting down the months, the weeks, the days, until we can hold them.  Cuddle them.  Comfort them.  See them smile.  Hear them say their first words.  So, why is it that we are treated like we are cursed?  Like we just went to the bathroom, bled, and should move on like nothing happened?  That is not the case at all, but it IS the widespread misconception.  One would not be asked to grieve a lost loved one, even their DOG, with just a shrug of the shoulders and a "Maybe next time."  Things really need to change...REALLY.

I recently came across a site that offers containers and coffins for every loss, even from just a few days into a pregnancy.  The people on one message board were making fun of this, and making fun of us mothers who have lost our babies and how ridiculous it is to want to bury "tissue" or blood, even up to a full-term infant.  They just could not grasp how one could love or grieve a "thing" that had never even breathed a single breath. They were sure that we lunatics could never compare the loss of a baby we never met to the grief of a living person. To me, it is appalling that people think otherwise!  We are MOMS.  These are our children, no matter how small or "insignificant" they may seem.  Yes, we grieve and hurt, just as if we had known them much longer.  From the moment we see that positive test, our lives change.  From that moment, our lives are changed forever.  That "tissue" WILL turn into our children.  We start imagining the future with that small, tiny speck, and what they will become.  Just because we have the misfortune to lose that dream, does not mean it does not hurt horribly.  Grief is grief.  It does not mean that we should just turn everything off and shut down because it is does not switch back to normal the moment our pregnancy ends.  We need to grieve and heal.  We have a constant reminder for weeks as we bleed, every time we go to the bathroom, it's a stab to the heart.  It's not a pretty thought, but it's the reality.  We need support, not shunning.  We don't forget in a day, a week....or even months.  We learn to move on, sure, just as anyone does who has lost... but we never forget.

It is just so hard to have to deal with it all AND have to censor ourselves because it is so taboo.  To have to hurt and be depressed, sad, feel alone, cry, feel overwhelmed and overcome with grief, and all the other things that go with it, yet we have to pretend like everything is okay,'s just what we're supposed to do!?!  We have to feel bad because we are still grieving or having trouble moving on.  It's a balancing act that no one should have to go through, especially alone.  It's like the dark, family secret, and if everyone just acts like it never happened, it will go away.  I just wish I could find the words to explain it.  I was "lucky" (such an odd word to use in this instance) in that this time I had pictures of my little one.  I got to hold him and say my helped bring closure to me and to solidify just how real he was, and also made it real to others.  He wasn't just thrown out with the medical waste or flushed down the sewer.  All our babies ARE's just that we are usually the only ones that cared for and FELT them.  We are the ones that are supposed to protect them and keep them safe, and for me, personally, I feel like a failure that I couldn't do that.  Many moms do.  We wonder what we could have done differently and blame ourselves daily....alone, with no understanding of the torture we are going through inside.  

All the other moms on my Grief and Loss message boards are hurting and suffering, too.  It's not just MY opinion or MY is widespread.  We have to lean on each other because we were unfortunate enough to have to belong to this seclusive club.  I know people don't intend to be uncaring or unsympathetic, but this really is an area that needs a lot of attention and needs to be heard.  So many women have went through it, yet we are still in the dark ages of not talking about it and just going into hiding and acting like everything is okay.  It's not.  Go to a grief board and look through the posts.  See the isolation and despair that these women feel.  The grief that goes unnoticed.  The tears that go unseen.  The voices that go unheard.  Tell me it is something that we should just get over because it was "nothing."  OR, better yet...reach out to someone who has lost and let them know that you DO care.  Let them know that they are not alone and their grief is real.  Let's start changing it now so that mother's in the future don't have to keep suffering in silence, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  If anything good can come from my losses, maybe it will be to open more people's eyes on the subject and help other Angel Mommies.  Remember ALL of our babies, even the ones that were too beautiful for this earth.